Avalanche Filling Void of Kadri ‘By Committee’

The Colorado Avalanche are one win away from the Stanley Cup Finals.

Following Saturday night’s 4-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final (WCF) at Rogers Place, the Avalanche have a chance to end the streak and advance to the Finals for the first time since their 2001 Cup win in Game 4 on Monday evening.

The Avalanche understand the challenge of pushing a team to the brink of elimination and how hard it is to get that final win to end a streak as they go by game six – after a 3-1 lead – needed to advance past the St. Louis Blues in the second round.

This time the stakes are higher in the Western Conference Finals and the circumstances are very different as Colorado is without a starting goaltender Darcy Kumperwho left Game 1 with an upper body injury and a crucial aspect of their offense Nazem Kadri, who exited Game 3 after just one 37-second shift after being boarded by Edmonton’s Evander Kane. These losses are also in addition to the defender Samuel Girardwho has been out since Game 3 of Round 2 after suffering a fractured sternum against St. Louis.

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According to Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar, Kadri will be out for the rest of the series “if not longer.” The 31-year-old had centered alongside Finland’s Arturri Lehkonen and one of Colorado’s most electrifying lines in that series Mikko Rantanen. Kadri had accumulated four points (1G, 3A) in Game 3 of the WCF and had a total of 14 points (6G, 8A) during the Avalanche’s 13-game postseason run.

“His role will be filled by the committee,” Bednar said. “That’s how big he is for us as players. It could be one guy one night and another the next. I’m comfortable with that. Of course it’s a big loss but it’s out of our control.”

While circumstances are far from ideal for losing three key players from Colorado’s roster, the team is confident in their “luxury” of comprehensive depth at every position while continuing to yearn for the ultimate goal.

“You want to control what you can control in all situations,” Bednar said. “You have to go ahead and consider your options. Everyone else has to be ready to go. We don’t spend a lot of time talking about the outside noise. We have a difficult task ahead of us to focus on.” on it and how to succeed at it. That was our mentality. We have learned that over the past few years. The guys did a great job staying focused and ready to perform.”

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And while the Avalanche must adjust their lineup with Kadri’s latest vulnerability, they know the Oilers won’t back down in Game 4 for a chance to salvage their season.

“That’s going to be hard”, Nathan MacKinnon said. “In the last series against St. Louis, we were 3-1 up and gave them life. It’s difficult to win this fourth game, it’s very difficult. It’s going to be very challenging. It’s a brand new game regardless [the series lead]. We have to come out strong and play a great game.

“We’re going into the next game 0-0,” continued MacKinnon. “It’s a brand new game. We have to come out extremely strong because we’re going to see their best.”

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